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Point Richmond Wigwags 2019 Restoration

Point Richmond
  Point Richmond Wigwags - 2001

In 2015, I was hired by the City of Richmond and the Richmond Museum of History to fully restore the two upper quadrant wigwags located on Richmond Ave. in the historic Point Richmond District. We ran into a snag with the BNSF Railway and the project got stalled for three years. Those issues have finally been cleared up, and now we can get the wigwags restored so they can operate on special occasions. They will not be used to protect the crossing for trains since new crossing gates were installed back in 2004. But they will remain where they've always been, in the Richmond Ave. median at the BNSF crossing. This is the only case I know of anywhere in the country where the old crossing signals were allowed to be kept in place after being retired in favor of new technology.

Quick history on the wigwags - These were once the most common type of automatic railroad crossing signal used in California from the mid 1920s through the 1940s. After the '40s, wigwags started disappearing rapidly, replaced by flashing light signals and crossing gates.  It's safe to say that the wigwags in Point Richmond were installed sometime between 1925 and 1940 (it was illegal to install new wigwags after the early 40s). Maybe some old photos of Point Richmond during this time period will show up.

You can follow the restoration process in the pages that follow. I will create a new page for each step of the restoration.

Last update - 7/30/19
  Aug 25, 2018
Initial inspection
Bell mechanism
Electrical components / Doors and interior
Electrical components / Doors and interior - Pt 2
Banner restoration - south wigwag - Part One
Banner restoration - south wigwag - Part Two
Jan-Feb, 2019
Break due to poor weather.
Banner restoration continues - North banner
Landscaping, mast restoration and finishing work

Wigwags Forever Event - July 28, 2019

click to enlarge
Artwork that was used for the free temporary tattoos
at the Wigwags Forever event.

click to enlarge
  Here's a link to a Youtube video I shot from the event.

click to enlarge
YouTube video of test operation after the electrical components were rebuilt - 11/11/18.

youtube video grab
You can see the wigwags in action a year before they were deactivated
on this YouTube video.

From 2002

click to enlarge

All text and photos (unless otherwise noted) by Dan Furtado.

Copyright 2019

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9/3/18 - 7/30/19